Wednesday, October 3, 2007


OPEN HOCKEY has a new look, which you might have noticed (but judging by the recent Statcounter pageloads, probably not). Kris worked hard (hardly worked) at creating the piece of of art you see at the top of the screen; he even came up with the brilliant, sarcastic, pre-judgmental, antagonistic tagline. Well done, sir! I was concerned about getting "expressed written consent" (or even "implied oral consent") from the NHL for the use of their logos, but screw them; they could use a little exposure since they can't do it themselves.

This ass-kicking, name-taking header comes just in time for the official kickoff of the 2007-08 NHL hockey season. Or was that last weekend? Either way, the league in its infinite wisdom chose the first day of the MLB playoffs to show a double-header on VS., ensuring minuscule ratings. If they had done this yesterday, when I was so starved for entertainment that I watched "Cavemen" (which wasn't horrible), they might have had some viewers.

Anaheim Ducks' players pose with the Stanley Cup near Tower Bridge in London, Wednesday Sept. 26, 2007. The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks have brought the oldest team trophy in North American sports back home to England. The Ducks, who practiced at the O2 Arena for the first time Wednesday, will open the National Hockey League season in the British capital on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, London's O2 Arena (owned by AEG, the same company who owns the L.A. Kings--it's all about synergy) hosted 2 games last weekend to "extend their brand" to Europe, and by most accounts the sport was well received. The hooligans especially loved the fights, although one onlooker was baffled by Ryan Getzlaf and friends posing with the Cup near Big Ben (actual quote: "The NFL is here next month, maybe this is part of that promotion"). Overall, I think we need the BBC to write more descriptions of hockey, they're just so damned British.

"The NHL champions, who beat the Ottawa Senators to win their first title in June, began the second period brightly but could not force the puck past agile Kings netminder Jonathan Bernier. Then, with 30:15 on the clock, Los Angeles doubled their advantage as captain Blake swept home a rebound after Anze Kopitar's shot had been well saved."
Well saved, old boy! Yarrr, Captain Blake doubles yer advantage! Wait, 30:15 on the clock? What the hell? Is that the metric system? Was there any injury time added on the end?

Falling into the NHL's evil marketing trap, the Biggest Sabres Fan In France was intrigued by the new NHL.TV and its promise of a free preview (until October 9th). However, upon trying to sign up he was informed that it was only available for people with U.S. addresses. Way to extend your brand, geniuses! NHL: Invisible All Around The World! It's such a fantastic sport, and it's a shame that it's getting buried by shoddy management, clueless broadcast networks, and asinine marketing schemes. As always, Bettman sucks.

The Onion Sports, "Sports Talk Radio For Fans Who Like To Read", has chimed in on the NHL as well:
"Despite hints, suggestions, and outright pleas from its friends and family members to "stop embarrassing [themselves]," National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced yesterday that NHL players, team management, and league officials will in fact go through with their plans to attempt the 2007-08 season."
We know you secretly love the NHL, otherwise you'd completely ignore it like everyone else.

Tomorrow, more Wales Conference teams get in their first games, with the Devils hopefully starting the season brightly down in Hockey Bay (Tampa) and the Rangers home against the Panthers. Stay tuned!

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